Three things to read, from Eddie Stern and the NY Times

I’m waking up for my first practice in nearly a week (see why here), and I’m getting my prana on — i.e. I’ve just started my second cup of coffee. And three things on the Internet catch my eye that seem worth sharing.

Maybe it’s five things. You judge. The first two are via Eddie Stern, at his blog.

The earlier is an Op-Ed by American comedian/political commentator/TV show host Bill Maher. It comes on the heels of an unusually full week of made-up or at least over-emphasized hysterics in the political world. Eddie reposted it all at his blog, here’s a taste:

If it weren’t for throwing conniption fits, we wouldn’t get any exercise at all.

I have a better idea. Let’s have an amnesty — from the left and the right — on every made-up, fake, totally insincere, playacted hurt, insult, slight and affront. Let’s make this Sunday the National Day of No Outrage. One day a year when you will not find some tiny thing someone did or said and pretend you can barely continue functioning until they apologize.

If that doesn’t work, what about this: If you see or hear something you don’t like in the media, just go on with your life. Turn the page or flip the dial or pick up your roll of quarters and leave the booth.

I shared Maher’s commentary last week with one of my best friends, who is far more conservative than I am. I wish I could easily pronounce that he’s as far right as I am left, to create a nice balance, but we’re both more complicated than that. If I noted that I live outside Los Angeles and he lives outside St. Louis, Missouri, would that explain it well enough? Too stereotypical, still? Probably. Well, he’s a wonderful guy and a dear friend, and suffice it to say we agree on almost nothing politically other than that people should be able to discuss issues with a little civility and decorum. My friend agree with what Maher wrote, and suggested Maher also practice what he preach.

The second item from Eddie is the short video below:

Here’s what Eddie says about it:

This beautiful video was filmed in Hardwar by Rishi Kaneria; the dialogue is a recording of Nehru (a little hard to hear), and the music is by Hans Zimmer. The music originally was used in Terrence Mallick’s The Thin Red Line, one of my favorite movies of all time. It is one of those rare movies that approach a level of mystic poetry, with meditations on life, death, love and war that we hear as the voiced-over, internal dialogues of the movie’s characters as they face sorrow and hardship.

The third — or third, fourth and fifth — thing to read is, like the Maher piece, from the New York Times. It’s a suitably long set of itineraries for trips to India. It’s broken into one, two, or three-week trips. (Thus the third, fourth and fifth thing to read.) Here’s a little taste from the piece:

From the placid vantage of a laptop, the world looks manageable. In real time, the degree of travel difficulty unfolds in agonizing increments. Did I really think I could fit all that into a week? I did.

Across almost three decades of travel I’ve often noted the general custom; I’ve inflicted it on myself. And it occurs to me that in few other places are Chanel’s words of advice better applied than India, a country my passports inform me I have visited more than 20 times. Assuming, perhaps, that the first trip to that compelling and bewildering country will be their only one, friends cram itineraries full to the point where misery is a guarantee. Thus my advice to pals heading to South Asia is to appraise the itinerary with a ruthless eye and then, long before heading to the airport, strike something off.

First-timers to India tend to be guided unvaryingly (and sensibly) around the so-called Golden Triangle (Delhi/Agra/Jaipur). This route, straightforward enough on paper, requires some discernment to get right. A policy of less is more is always sensible in India, in order to limit the shock the place inevitably delivers to an average Westerner’s system.

A question often posed is whether a week is enough time to cover the birthplace of three great faiths — Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The answer, reasonably, is no. But travelers are not reasonable people, and it is distinctly possible to absorb the essence of India in CliffsNotes form.

I don’t think any of them include long stops to practice Ashtanga.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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